Acupuncture as Alternative Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Many people suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee, a degenerative joint disease that causes constant pain and inflammation, leading to difficulty in walking. In some people the pain and disability is so severe that total knee replacement surgery is considered. However, many patients would rather try other forms of treatment and consider surgery as a last resort. Furthermore, surgery may not be suitable for everyone, since some patients continue to experience severe pain after the procedure.
A recent study published online in Acupuncture in Medicine shows that acupuncture can effectively relieve the pain of knee osteoarthritis and provide a low cost alternative to surgery. The findings were based on 90 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, who received acupuncture treatments in two knee pain clinics in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 2008. These clinics were run by specially trained acupuncture nurses who gave acupuncture treatments to the patients once a week for a month. The frequency of treatments was reduced to one session every six weeks. The patients were followed up for two years.
The average age of the patients was 71, and each of them received an average of 16.5 treatments. Response to treatment was measured using a scoring system that evaluated clinically significant improvements in pain control, stiffness, functional capacity, and wellbeing after a month of treatment and at six monthly intervals.
By 2011 the authors found that there has been a lower rate of total knee replacements in their group compared to other groups of patients. They believe that acupuncture treatment could significantly reduce the health care cost annually for osteoarthritis.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. Acupuncture offers low-cost alternative to knee surgery for osteoarthritis, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2012.
Tags: constant pain and inflammation, difficulty in walking, knee replacement surgery, osteoarthritis, reduce the health care cost, response to treatment, severe pain after the procedure, surgery may not be suitable for everyone